Yes, the love affair with Mr O continues. Today the recipe is inspired by one from his book Jerusalem, and is, in turn, one of his own mother’s recipes. Momma knows best, we all know that.
As ever, I used what I had to hand, the original ingredients are in brackets following my version. It makes a stunning main course accompanied by a salad packed full of all your favourite leaves, or an excellent starter if you use smaller peppers and restrain yourself to eating only a half. Tough choice.
Ingredients (to serve 4 as a main course or 8 as a starter – easily halved, or even doubled for a party)
- 4 red bell peppers (which I halved and blanched in boiling water for about 3 minutes) (8 romano peppers, no need to blanch)
- 2 cups of homemade tomato sauce or (1 large tomato roughly chopped, 2 medium onions roughly chopped, about 500ml vegetable stock)
- 140g basmati rice
- 1 tbsp Allspice (1 ½ tbsp baharat)
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 400g minced pork (400g minced lamb)
- 2 ½ tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint (2 tbsp chopped dill, 1 ½ tbs chopped dried mint)
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
- Salt and black pepper
Put the rice in a saucepan and cover with lightly salted water. Boil for 4 minutes, drain, rinse and set aside.
Dry fry the spices, add the olive oil and onion and fry until the onion is soft. Pour this and the stuffing ingredients into a large bowl and mix). Season.
Stuff either the half peppers or if using the romanos cut a slit lengthways without cutting in half completely and stuff each pepper.
If not using previously made tomato sauce, place the chopped tomato and onion into a large pan with a tight fitting lid (or pour your sauce in). Sit the peppers on top, cover with a lid and either simmer on the stove top on a low heat for about an hour or cook in a medium oven until the peppers are tender. If using the stove top, make sure the sauce does not dry out by adding a little water if necessary.
Serve warm or at room temperature.